Improving the science and evidence base of disaster response: a policy research study

7 May, 2019

Morning everyone –

I’m delighted to let you know that an Evidence Aid co-authored open access paper has just been published in BMC Health Sciences Research titled “Improving the science and evidence base of disaster response: a policy research study”. You can access it here. [*see note below]

Please feel free to share this throughout your networks.

Best wishes,


Claire Allen

Operations Manager

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HIFA profile: Claire Allen is Operations Manager at Evidence Aid, UK. Professional interests: Evidence Aid ( provides evidence for people in disaster preparedness and response to make better decisions. Areas of interest = humanitarian crises, natural disasters and major healthcare emergencies (disaster = when a country is unable to cope with the disaster/crisis or emergency). She is a member of the HIFA Working Group on Access to Health Research and the HIFA Working Group on Library and Information Services.

callen AT

[*Note from HIFA moderator (Neil PW): For the benefit of those who may not have immediate web access, here are the citation and abstract:

CITATION: Improving the science and evidence base of disaster response: a policy research study

Irene Anne Jillson1, Michael Clarke2*, Claire Allen3, Stephen Waller4, Tracey Koehlmoos5, William Mumford6,Jeroen Jansen3, Keith McKay7and Alexandra Trant8

BMC Health Services Research (2019) 19:274


Background: In order to elicit the knowledge, experience, and attitudes of individuals involved in disaster response with regard to evidence-based best practices, Evidence Aid and its institutional partners, Georgetown University and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, carried out a Policy Delphi study in 2015–2016.

Methods: Purposive and snowball methods were used to select study participants. The Delphi study comprisedtwo rounds of iterative questions, with the questionnaires completed online. In addition, participants at theEvidence Aid conference in November 2016 discussed the findings in focus groups. Excel was used to analyze thequantitative data and Glaser and Strauss (1967) to analyze the qualitative data.

Results: Thirty-six participants responded to the first round of the study, 165 responded to the second round, and 30 participated in the focus group discussions. The salient findings include 1) ensuring that all key stakeholders areengaged in planning for and responding to disasters in a collaborative, coordinated manner — including local community members; 2) using, insofar as possible, evidence-based responses; 3) increasing and strengthening research to ensure that such data are available; and 4) addressing ethical, legal and social issues throughout the planning, immediate response, and post-disaster periods.

Conclusions: Recent humanitarian disasters, due to natural and man-made hazards or a combination of the two, reinforce the need for more effective, efficient, humane responses at the local, national and international levels. This study has yielded findings that can be used to strengthen planning and response by taking into account, where possible, evidence based on research that has been carried out with the engagement of community members andwith support by key stakeholders. The most effective means of facilitating the development and implementation ofconsistent, coordinated policies and practices might be for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction to take the lead in engaging key organizations in the required discussions and collaborations.]